Cold Zero The Last Stand Review

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Graphics: 7.0
Sound : 7.5
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 8.5
Overall : 7.7
Review by Dennis S. and Neil
Being allowed to use an Uzi 9mm legally is every man’s dream. However, living in England wont help. Therefore to aid us, Koch Media have brought to us Cold Zero: The Last Stand. With Cold Zero you can blow up cars, hose down thugs, buy heavy machinery and live and work in the mafia life. What more could you ask for?

Gameplay:

As the introduction movie of the game explains, you're an elite SWAT sniper that has made a mistake, and accidentally shot a hostage. Kicked out from the police force, you decide to become a private detective, and obviously start off in a run down building with a shabby office, trying to make ends meet. However with your background, being the sole cause for a hostage to be killed, you find it hard to get any work. This in essence is the base line for the beginning of the game. When you start the single player campaign, the first “mission” is to buy some weaponry and ammo for yourself. Getting back to your shabby office you find out that you still don't have enough cash to pay off the lease for the office, so your trusty (and rather nice looking) secretary Jane signs you up for a hostage rescue mission, and that's where the game really begins.



Soon you start working for the mafia, and get involved with a deadly virus called, yes you guessed it, Cold Zero. But the story line is not as typical as it first looks. After playing the first six missions, it’s “up to you” to finish, or play out the missions at hand. This freedom allows the player to do what he or she wants at that time; this is surely a great aspect of the game that many games sadly lack. In addition to that there is usually more than one way to finish a mission. The storyline also has a feel of realism as to how the game plays out and would most likely happen in real life situations (that’s not to say I’ve been in any like these!).

In the entirety of the game you'll spend looking at your character from the top down, sort of in a way you would play Jagged Alliance, although you'll be able to control the zoom and angle. One big difference is that you are controlling only one sole character, and the gameplay is real time-based, reminding this reviewer more of Commandos – only with a huge variety of weapons and actions that one could do. Although as a matter of fact the variety of weapons indeed reminds me of Jagged Alliance – there's lots and lots of them, each one with different stats and requirements. Your character also gains experience, which you can use to improve some of his skills, such as using different types of weapons, repairing things and more. As for the gameplay itself, it is exactly like in Commandos, tactical action type of thing; sneaking up on some enemies and silently eliminating them, or getting into direct confrontations. The game isn't really easy, but yet not that hard at the same time, so it will be a mix of both for the most part. The enemy AI is well written: they react to noises, take cover behind boxes and try to work in teams. While there are some glitches that stop them from detecting you at times, they generally don't happen all too often at all.


The layout and controls are reasonably well laid on the keyboard, and aren’t too fussy to get used to. However the one control that I had to learn was to step sideways or walk backwards. You have to make the mouse point in the direction you want John to move then you either press the Ctrl button or the right mouse button. In the game, that’s really out of the way of the main group of buttons (fire, reload, change gun, inventory... etc). Good thing the tutorial makes things easier for you by explaining how all of them work. There are sixteen levels in the game, all of them well designed. So basically, you'll spend a lot of time with this one as soon as you'll figure out the gameplay.

Graphics:

Graphically, this game has some good and bad points. Overall it looks fairly smart and neat, however in the missions, there are some faults. Good parts include dynamic (and rather subtle) lighting, skeletal animation of in-game characters, partially destructible environments and a very well-made shadows system. Bad parts include slightly bland textures, and a somewhat outdated feel. There are some bugs also in there; buildings suddenly disappearing from view while using the zoom option come to mind... Or sometimes objects appear where they aren't supposed to. But what must be said is that performance is good even on older machines, and minimum requirements of the game are rather modest. So while there is still room for improvement, the pluses overweight the minuses.



Sound:

The sound in Cold Zero is by all means above average – with 3D positional surround sound you will always know what side this particular noise is coming from, and there's a rather large variety of them too; for example there's a big variety of footsteps' sounds for all terrains included in the game. A special note should be said about the weapons sounds: although there might not be a great abundance of those for each type of weapon, the shots and reloading sounds are all there and sound distinctly different for each, which is a good thing especially considering that there are over 100 weapons included in the game, Generally, the NPCs sound great; however there is always one that drives you absolutely crazy, and Cold Zero definitely has that “one” for me. The music is in there as well, and it plays nice, without annoying you much, changing from regular to higher tempo during combat, as every level has its own music track, in two variations for 'regular' and 'combat' situations.

Multiplayer:

Of course you can’t have anymore fun than to get a group of friends around, stick all their computers into a LAN, then battle it out to see who is the Arnie in disguise. Great fun to play, very easy to set up, and to have all the weapons of choice is wonderful! Overall the multiplayer is the best area of the game, because of the amount of guns and equipment (including armour and cloaks) you can select, and because the levels aren’t too small or too large; it is the equivalent of CS but in Commandos style.


Conclusion:

Cold Zero: The Last Stand is a game where you can have freedom in slaughtering thugs with heavy machine pistols, or with any other weapon you like. It combines the best elements of Jagged Alliance, Commandos and the original Postal game into one neat package. Of course it's a matter of preference, but if you liked any of the above games, you're in for a treat. If you turn into a die hard Cold Zero fan, you can replay the game, as you can accomplish missions in various ways. While the graphics could've been better, the sound is above average, and generally the game is overall well made. Now we'll be eagerly awaiting Cold Zero 2.